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Hooks and callbacks

RobinDaugherty edited this page · 7 revisions
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Guard has a hook mechanism that allows you to insert callbacks for individual Guards. By default, each of the Guard instance methods has a "_begin" and an "_end" hook. For example, the Guard::Guard#start method has a :start_begin hook that is run immediately before Guard::Guard#start and a :start_end hook that is run immediately after Guard::Guard#start.


You can set your callback for a specific Guard in your Guardfile with the Guard::DSL.callback method. There are two ways to define your callbacks:

With a block

The first argument to Guard::Dsl#callback is the hook of interest. The block contains the code to run. For example, to have Guard open TextMate when it first starts up:

# Guardfile
guard 'rspec' do
  watch(...) { ... }

  callback(:start_begin) { `mate .` }

Without a block

If you have more complex code to run, you can create a separate object to contain that code. In order for the callback to run, it must have a #call (or .call if it's a module) method that receives the class of the Guard associated with the callback, the hook event, and a splat of other arguments. For Guard::Dsl#callback, you pass the object (or the module) and the hook(s) you are interested in. Here is an example of a Timer plugin.

# Guardfile
class Guard::Timer
  def times
    @times ||={})

  def call(guard_class, event, *args)
    event.to_s =~ /(.*)_(begin|end)/
    times[$1][$2] =
    puts "#{guard_class} received these args: #{args} for #{event}"

    if $2 == 'end'
      time = times[$1]['end'] - times[$1]['begin']
      puts "#{guard_class} took #{time} seconds to run"

guard 'rspec' do
  watch(...) { ... }

  callback(, [:start_begin, :start_end])

For the default "_begin" hooks, the *args that are passed to #call are the matched files that Guard has detected changes on. For the default "_end" hooks, *args are the results of the Guard action that was executed.

NOTES / Caveats

Currently, callbacks are fired only if the given plugin implements the related method, e.g. Guard-Rspec doesn't currently implement stop, so callbacks for :stop_begin and :stop_end won't be called. The quick workaround is to add these methods through monkey-patching, but of course, caution is advised when doing so:

# Required for instance_methods to have actual methods
require 'guard/rspec'

module ::Guard
  class RSpec < Plugin
    # Always check in case a future version of the plugin
    # implements the method
    unless instance_methods.include?(:stop)
      def stop; end

guard 'rspec' do
  watch(...) { ... }
  callback(Foo.action, [:stop_begin, :stop_end]) # now works


If you are developing a Guard and want end users or other gems to be able to hook into certain parts of your code, then you can create a custom hook with the #hook method. You define the hook's name with either a symbol or string. If passed a symbol, the hook name will be the name of the calling method with the symbol appended. If passed a string, the hook name will be the string.

module Guard
  class MyGuard < Plugin
    def start
      # some code
      hook :custom_hook_1  # this hook's name will be :start_custom_hook_l
      # more code
      hook "custom_hook_2"  # this hook's name will be :custom_hook_2
      # rest of code
    # the default hooks :start_begin and :start_end will still be available
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